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AGOA Opens Doors for American Businesses

While one important goal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is to bring African countries into the global market, AGOA also opens the doors for American businesses to expand their exports to 40 African countries.

One of the businesses taking advantage of the benefits AGOA provides is Edlen International, Inc., which manufactures and exports special dough conditioners that improve the quality of baking flour.

Edlen International, based in Atlanta, Georgia, currently exports its products to Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. It also looks forward to expanding its sales to Ghana and Tanzania.

Company president Eddy Atunzu said Edlen International’s export sales to Africa have helped to support 10 U.S. employees.

“Our exporting maintains and increases jobs for Americans,” he said. “As long as businesses in African countries continue to order our products, we continue to maintain our employee level and increase when our orders increase.”

Atunzu said Edlen International also works to benefit the African bakeries he exports products to.

“We help to stabilize the bakery industry, especially in the West African Sub-Region” said Atunzu. “The use of our product keeps bakeries profitable and viable, thus enabling them to progress and maintain employee levels and even hire new ones.”

Like Edlen International, more and more American businesses have been working in recent years to establish and increase trade with African countries.

In 2008, U.S. total imports from sub-Saharan Africa were more than four times the amount in 2001 - exceeding $86 billion - while U.S. total exports to sub-Saharan Africa more than doubled during this period, reaching $18.6 billion.

Step by step, AGOA is helping to expand and diversify trade between the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa and to build partnerships between U.S. and African businesses. AGOA breaks down the barriers of U.S. - African trade, benefitting both African businesses and businesses at home.